Volusia councilman still wants to raise $5 beach tolls

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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. —

The busy season for Volusia County’s beaches is near and not a dime has been added to the current $5 daily beach toll for drivers, which makes tourists happy.

"Well, hell yeah. You betya, man," said tourist Huge Willer. "I mean, the beach ought to be free for everybody, you know.”

Last year, Volusia County collected more than $3 million from beach tolls and beach park passes. However, it costs at least $7 million to maintain the beach and provide safety, and most of that money comes from property taxes, according to Channel 9's Blaine Tolison.

County Councilman Josh Wagner wants to change that, and he's again recommending a $30 toll for drivers wanting to park on the beach.

Wagner said taxpayers can’t continue footing the bill.

"What I did was I was trying to use $30 to show what it costs if you took property taxes away," said Wagner.

The several million dollars budgeted for Volusia’s beaches help pay for things like new lifeguard towers and lifeguards and beach safety officers.  

"That’s life safety and there’s a cost to that, so that’s where we have to make the decision," said Wagner. "Do we cut back or do we raise the fees a little bit, so we can keep that level (of) service.”

This year, Wagner is again planning to raise the question of increasing tolls but he agrees most beachgoers wouldn’t pay $30.